How to develop real world electronic document equivalents using UN/CEFACT standards and reference data models

13 June 2022
Short description

The digitalization of the supply chain is the dominant trend in international trade and transport at present and the main tool for facilitating trade procedures. Due to the essence of the supply chain as a process of interaction between many parties within many jurisdictions, ensuring interoperability plays a key role both in the supply chain and in the digitalization processes. In this regard, the development, maintenance and adoption of standards at the international level play an extremely important role. This explains the continued focus on standardization in trade and transport facilitation by UN institutions: notably, the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe (UNECE) and the United Nations Centre for Trade Facilitation and Electronic Business (UN/CEFACT).

UNECE (and UN/CEFACT as a subsidiary intergovernmental body of the UNECE) has developed a range of tools for trade and transport facilitation:

  • The UN Layout Key for Trade Documents, which forms the basis of, inter alia, the EU Single Administrative Document (SAD) in the European Union,
  • UN/EDIFACT, the only global standard for Electronic Data Interchange (EDI),
  • Over 40 trade facilitation recommendations covering best practices in process optimization, document exchange, international trade and e-business codes, etc.,
  • A core component library containing syntax- and technology-independent building blocks used for data modeling,
  • XML schemas that provide a set of coherent, consistent and normalized syntactic solutions that are consistent with a family of domain data reference models.

As an introduction to the activities of these institutions, as well as general information on the use of data models developed and maintained by UN/CEFACT for the creation of electronic documents, we would like to provide a link to a guide prepared by David Roff , UN/CEFACT expert:

It should be noted that a number of approaches to the practical application of UN/CEFACT standards for supply chain facilitation that we use in our projects intersect with those described by Mr.Roff in the section

At the same time, the experience of operating a real Single Window system interacting with different modes of transport, participants and jurisdictions, on the one hand, as well as the possibility of creating various electronic documents based on UN/CEFACT data models within the framework of the assessments carried out for the UNECE, on the other hand, allowed us to form a practical algorithm for transforming documents and data sets.

List of Annexes

Annex 1 - eCMR_UA

Annex 2-eCMR_100pD20A (after download delete "_.txt" extension to use the file)

Annex 3-eCMR2001 (after download delete "_.txt" extension to use the file)

Output / Results

Report of the project






Electronic trade and transport documents and data